Re: virus: Re: May the best meme win?

Lior Golgher (
Fri, 06 Dec 1996 17:39:45 -0800

Hakeeb A. Nandalal wrote:
> Life isn't a race to a finish line, it's clearing the hurdles on the
> track. Given reality, there will always be hurdles. But if for some
> bizarre reason there weren't any then we'd sub-consciously create
> them while being hell-bent on clearing them (a Level-3 paradox?).

Alternative metaphor - life isn't a game with fixed time and rules. It's
an infinite game, created by its players. Rules like '10000$ fine for
hitting another player' and conventions like the Olympic sportsmanship
are aimed at ensuring the game's survival - Quarrels and terrorist
attacks ruin games. If there were no quarrels, no terrorists etc., it
would be paradoxical to create them just in order to forbid them. If
there were no murders, it would be paradoxical to create them just in
order to keep "Thy shall not kill".
Let's classify these rules as 'survival rules'.

But not all rules are aimed at ensuring the game's survival. Rules like
'2 points for striking through the rim' are aimed at the satisfaction of
the players. By overcoming the challange you prove your skillfulness,
you show you can stand all hurdles, and you feel satisfied with
yourself. There's nothing paradoxical about posing challanges\hurdles
just in order to overcome them. There are various harmful variations of
this behaviour anyway. One typical behaviour is to constantly try to
prove you're capable of overcoming every hurdle, so you won't become the
inferior 'loser'. <"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" reference
of the day - The child who tries to prove he can climb the mountain due
to Y.M.C.A. conventions.>
Let's classify these rules as 'status rules'.

What's considered to be the greatest challange? Those who involve
matters of life and death. The hero who rescues the screaming
lady\baby\cat from the flames, kills the mad bad guy before he blasts
earth off, and\or slays the mighty bear - he's the one who gains the
highest status. He wears a fur coat or hangs a stuff-skinned bear over
the fireplace to display his status. A fur coat becomes a status symbol,
so people start imitating it. Then mighty bears' fur coats become
abundant, and there's a need for a new status symbol.
Due to technological development you don't have to hunt bears in order
to survive. It's no more a survival rule to hunt bears, so the hurdle is
smaller and overcoming it is less satisfying. Now you have to slay *the*
mighty bear or a thousand bears to reach the same satisfaction and
obtain the same status.
Due to animal-protection-organizations' activity you're not allowed to
hunt bears anymore. Now the hurdle is utterly gone. You have to find
another one to prove yourself.

What will happen if all hurdles are gone? You'll discover others. When
they won't be satisfying, you'll alter them. Human creativity is capable
of creating new challanges based on past ones. Nothing paradoxical with
that. Of course displaying status rules as survival rules is hypocritic.
Hypocracy isn't paradoxical.

This whole subject is extensively discussed on 'The Human Zoo'.